John Helfers is a freelance writer and editor based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. During his sixteen years working at the packaging company Tekno Books, he edited more than fifteen short story anthologies for DAW Books, Inc., and more than one hundred others for publishers in all genres. He also worked with well-known authors and co-editors such as Charlaine Harris, Mercedes Lackey, Margaret Weis, Jean Rabe, Robert Silverberg, and Kevin J. Anderson. John has also published more than forty short stories in anthologies such as If I Were An Evil Overlord, Time Twisters, and Places to Be, People to Kill. His media tie-in fiction has appeared in anthologies, game books, and novels for the Dragonlance®, Transformers®, BattleTech® and Shadowrun® universes. He’s written fiction and nonfiction, including a novel in the first authorized trilogy based on The Twilight Zone™ television series, the YA novel Tom Clancy’s Net Force Explorers™: Cloak and Dagger, the original fantasy novel Siege of Night and Fire, and a history of the United States Navy. Recent projects including overseeing the second Elemental Masters anthology with Mercedes Lackey, and working with Esther Friesner on the next Chicks in Chainmail anthology. In his spare time, he’s signs on to Kickstarter projects he believes in while trying to write several projects in the middle-grade and adult genres.
by John Helfers
This is my first foray into Kickstarter as a co-editor, indeed, as part of any project. For that, I can thank Travis Heermann, whom I’ve known for several years, ever since I acquired his novel Heart of the Ronin for Five Star’s Science Fiction and Fantasy line, and have enjoyed his work ever since.
I’ve also had a front-row seat to the changes that have been happening in publishing over the past several years, from the rise of e-books and self-publishing to the various permutations and machinations large publishers have gone through in response. Unfortunately, there have been casualties in this brave new world, and one of them is anthologies.
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Travis Heermann has been a freelance writer since 1999. Publishing credits include dozens of magazine articles, role-playing game content for both table-top and online MMORPGs, short fiction. Travis’s latest novel, Rogues of the Black Fury, is now available at online booksellers, select bookstores, and libraries. He has also been putting the finishing touches on the second book in his Ronin Trilogy, Sword of the Ronin.
World-building a historical fantasy novel is considerably different from a secondary world fantasy. Historical fantasy has a few more rules, unless you want to venture into alternate history or steampunk. Writers are free to play around with the fantasy elements, but to still call the story ‘historical’ means adhering known historical events and creating a compelling narrative around those events. But that is not a limitation; real historical events are often crazier and more dramatic than anything a fiction writer can conceive.